Hey mama! You beautiful soul fixing breakfast, getting kiddos ready for school and running the show this morning and every day-I’m talking to YOU! Are you a full time stay at home mother? Is what you do considered work? Is a job? You bet it is!! We know that being a stay at home mom is a labor of love. It comes with highlights and challenges and each day is unlike the one before. Anyone who would dare claim that what we do isn’t work..well I’d like to give them a piece of my mind for a start.
Many of us get the flyer from school around this time of year looking for parents to come in to our children’s classes to share their jobs on career day (Also known at my school as The Great American Teach In). You might see this flyer and think “I can’t do it, I’m a stay at home mom”. I’m with you, a few years ago I thought exactly the same thing! I didn’t have a “career” in any standard definition. I had been a stay at home parent for 6 years at that point and while I was busy, did a lot of work and took care of a family I didn’t think that counted. Surely, they would be hoping for doctors, fireman, or someone with business cards and swag bags to disperse.
My inspiration came in the form of my friend Catherine. She inspires many…as a volunteer, friend, mom and general cool lady. She collects amazing ideas like I collect single socks (where do the matches to these sock go???). Catherine posted on Facebook her take on the Teach In. She went to her child’s school and presented her job as a mom. The many jobs of mom actually. I was impressed, proud of her and immediately inspired! No one at my kid’s school was signed up to present this “career”. I wanted to be the first and I wanted to do it justice! I immediately signed up and began to plan out my presentation, which I would present to my son’s class of 20 kids a few weeks later.
The first thing I did was to talk to Catherine about how she had pulled off this idea. She started by making a list of some of her responsibilities as mom and found corresponding costumes for each child to wear to be that job (items from around the house or borrowed from friends). She also dressed the part herself in a mom graphic tee. I loved this suggestion! So I began this process too.
(Personal shopper above)
Here’s what I did:
Step 1- make a list of 20 jobs, one for each child in the class. They each could be something I could elaborate on as I spoke to the class. I also choose which kid would be which job ahead of time so there would be no arguing on the day who would do what job. Luckily I knew these kids very well-one of my jobs was being their homeroom mom (both years).
Some jobs I choose between both presentations I did were (and accessories) :
Cleaner- feather duster, empty spray cleaner bottle, rubber gloves
Personal Chef-apron, chef hat, wooden spoon, cookbook
Nutritionist-plastic play food in a basket, apron
Lifeguard-towel, goggles, small boogie board
Photographer-old broken camera, empty camera bag
Party planner-party decorations to hold, calendar and pen
Search & rescue (finding lost things)-flashlight, camouflage army dress up vest and hat
Handywomen (fixer of broken things)-empty tool box, play toy tools
Homeroom Mom-notebook, file folder, big pen
Nurse-first aid kit, play costume hat, mask and toy stethoscope
Fitness Instructor-yoga mat and water bottle
Referee- a referee shirt of my husband’s, flags, sports hat
Cheerleader (cheering your kids on at sports and other activities)-team shirt, Pom poms, cheer cone
Personal Shopper-empty shopping bags, newspaper ads, coupons
Laundress-laundry basket, empty laundry soap bottle, a few towels for “laundry”, toy iron
Chauffeur-video game steering wheel, cap, sunglasses
Hairdresser-empty hairspray bottle, combs, brush and hair ties
Accountant-calculator, notebook, pretend glasses
Travel agent-Little suitcase, funny tourist hat
(Search & rescue)
Step 2- find outfits to go with each job. This was surprisingly easy! At the age my children are we have plenty of dress up items, toys and odds and ends around. I collected them as I found them around the house and carried in two huge containers on the day.
Step 3- order myself a fabulous Mom tee shirt. The first year it said House CEO, Mom Life. (Found on Etsy). The second it simply said Mom Life (Ebay). I also made a poster shown above with each job listed.
Step 4- Present the jobs on Teach In day. I started by talking about how moms do many things we don’t always remember or think about. I made sure to note that we would be talking about some of the jobs moms do but we do a whole lot more! I called up each child one by one and helped them get into costume (they didn’t know what they were going to be) and then the class guessed the job. We elaborated on what that job took and how often moms do the responsibility of this job.
Step 5- I gathered all the kids to the front of the room to see all the jobs together. They were surprised both times just how much moms do. I then gave each child a blank thank you note to thank any mom in their lives (their own included) for something they appreciate.
The kids couldn’t stop talking either year I presented about how much they never thought about that mommies do. They had fun learning while in costume and each loved the job chosen for them. They asked really cute questions about being a mom. My favorite comment was “Now I understand why my mommy gets so tired!!”.
Another result-a total of 38 mommies (including their teacher) received notes of thanks. I heard from some of these moms who also thanked me for this presentation. This warmed my heart! I was a proud recipient too-I received a thank you note from my son thanking me not only for all I do but for showing up for his class. The second year a note and picture of me from my daughter saying how proud she was of me. (I will keep both forever!).
The last result-I left feeling proud of myself. I felt proud of my contribution to this class, this special day and the learning that took place. I felt proud of what I give to my household and my family. I felt like I honored the women that stay at home and who do so much, a lot of the time some of our efforts go unnoticed. I also wanted and hope I honored those parents that volunteer in school-the homeroom parents, PTA volunteers, copy moms and field trip chaperones.
To be honest I loved it so much that I was the first to sign up last year. I couldn’t wait to share my job with another group of kiddos. This time my daughter’s class. My daughter asked ahead of time if she could please be Homeroom Mom for her job. When I asked why she said “because I feel so proud you help my class every week, you chose us.” It was the most true statement she could have made. I chose this life-this Mom Life, I did. I choose it every day!! I’m grateful that I do, nothing has ever or will ever give me as much joy. I am House CEO, I am a career women with 20+ jobs, I am MOM!!
So I say to you gals that do this job too-you should be proud. Own it. What you do, what you give, what you are. Sign that slip saying you’ll be there and say to the next generation this is a career!! Tell them about what you love and who you are, maybe not my way but in your own special way. Give them insight and understanding and curiousity, start those conversations! See the pride on the face of your children as I did. Feel your own self esteem rise higher. Give credit to other moms and yourself. Who better to do it than you?
I’ll be back at this year’s Great American Teach In with excitement presenting to two classes of elementary students. I’ll be talking about being a mommy with an extra twist. I’ll also be talking about being a blogger too per both of my children’s requests. I’m thrilled to share this “job” as well with a new group of children. Thank you for being a part of this “job”, I love being a part of your mornings and your lives each week! A big thank you to Casey of Wild Liberty Design Co. for helping create a Give Me The Details tee for this next presentation and supporting not only me and this blog! I can’t wait to wear it! Janet